A Shreveport teen involved in a mass shooting at Tinseltown theater two years ago that ended with a homicide, was found guilty of second-degree murder and numerous associated crimes Wednesday, October 25, 2023, in Caddo District Court.
Ja’shun Smith, now 18, but who was 15 at the time of the shootings on September 4, 2021, was found guilty as charged of 13 counts by the four-man, eight-woman jury in District Judge John D. Mosely Jr.’s court. The jurors deliberated just under two hours.
Smith faces a mandatory life term in prison for the slaying of 13-year-old Kelvontae Daigre when he returns for sentencing November 28, 2023. The other guilty verdicts were for eight counts of attempted second-degree murder and four counts of aggravated criminal property damage.
The jurors heard from more than 25 witnesses and were presented with more than 200 pieces of evidence.
Around 10:30 p.m. September 4, 2021, Smith was driving a grey Kia Optima that had just left Tinseltown after a shooting in the theater parking lot. He headed to the Circle K at the corner of Youree Drive and East Bert Kouns Industrial Loop, where he stopped his car and waited for a white Honda Accord to come to the intersection. When that Accord stopped at the intersection, Smith exited the driver’s seat of the Optima, which was owned by his girlfriend, and began firing a rifle at the intersection. Other occupants of the Optima, who are awaiting trial for their part in the shootings, also fired shots into the intersection.
Kelvontae Daigre, 13, was in the back seat of the Accord; he was struck in the back and killed. The driver of that car also was injured. Three other cars in the intersection, with seven people inside, were shot up, with one other passenger being struck by a bullet. Diagonally across the intersection, WK Pierremont Medical Center also was damaged by the gunfire. Shreveport Police collected 50 spent shell casings from the Circle K parking lot.
Smith got back into the Optima and led police on a high-speed chase throughout Shreveport, ending in Cedar Grove. Smith and the others in the car fled. Police located the guns used in the shooting in nearby yards. Smith’s handprint and DNA were found in the car. Surveillance video from the Circle K showed Smith, wearing the same clothes he was seen in at Tinseltown minutes before, get out of the Optima and he was the first of the occupants to begin firing into the intersection. Smith also exchanged text messages with his girlfriend claiming responsibility for the shooting at the intersection. The following day, he went to the residence of an acquaintance and laughed about the shooting that left Daigre deceased.
In addition to the mandatory life sentence for the murder, Smith faces 10 to 50 years at hard labor without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence on each count of attempted murder, and one to 15 years with or without hard labor on each of the aggravated criminal damage to property counts.
Smith was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Courtney N. Ray, William J. Edwards and Cheyenne Y. Wilson. He was defended by Casey Simpson, Madi Crusan and Harry Johnson.
The case was docket No. 397671